Boil-water notices & precautionary boil-water notices?

Why do drinking water suppliers such as DWSD issue boil-water notices? Most are related to the occasional equipment malfunctions and pipeline breaks that increase the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water distribution system. When problems arise, as they do with all water supply systems, DWSD goes beyond the requirements of law to protect public health. We issue boil-water notices as a precaution even when contamination is unlikely.

  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about boil-water notices and drinking water contamination

  What does boiling water accomplish?
Boiling is considered the safest and most effective method of water disinfection. Vigorous boiling for two minutes will kill any disease-causing microorganisms and parasites present in water. The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by aeration: pouring it back and forth from one container to another. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or get water from another suitable source.

  When should I boil my tap water?
It's prudent to boil water when your water supplier issues a boil-water notice, when service has been interrupted, or when a natural disaster like a flood or hurricane has disrupted water service.

  What is a boil-water notice?
It is a notification that advises customers to boil tap water used for drinking, cooking and ice-making until tests verify the water is safe. The tests generally takes 48 to 72 hours to complete. It is not necessary to boil water for showering or other external uses.

  When are boil-water notices issued?
Water suppliers are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to notify customers to boil water when water samples indicate contamination or when conditions exist that make the water supply vulnerable to contamination. These conditions include a drop in system pressure to below 20 pounds per square inch, a break in a major distribution line, a malfunction of the treatment system, or a cross-connection to a contaminated water supply. The majority of boil water notices issued in the Diamondhead Water & Sewer District are for pressure drops below 20 psi due to scheduled water shutdowns for maintenance or unscheduled water shutdowns for emergency repairs.

 Why do these conditions call for boiling water?
When service is interrupted and distribution lines are emptied, contaminants can enter the lines that transport water. Although waterborne diseases are extremely rare, they can be serious. The risk is higher for infants, the elderly and persons with immune deficiency disorders. DWSD issues boil-water notices even if the possibility of contamination is remote because we do not want to take any chances with your family's health.

  How does DWSD inform customers about boil-water notices?
We use a variety of methods to communicate. On October 14, 2016, our new automated utility notification system began. Customers may choose to receive a call or text message to the cellular phone number listed on their account. Other methods we use include delivering flyers door-to-door, posting notices on the website home page with maps of the boil water area and making personal calls to water users such as day care centers, nursing homes and restaurants. The same methods are used to notify customers that the notice has ended. Be sure to monitor this page for updates during boil-water notices

  If you are under a boil-water notice:
Do not drink tap water.
Do not use ice made from recent tap water.
Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.
Cook with tap water ONLY if food is boiled for at least one minute.
Wash dishes, fruits and vegetables in boiled water or water that has been disinfected  with bleach. Using your home dishwasher is not recommended.
Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.

  When your boil-water notice is lifted:
Flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing.   Example:
   - 1 faucet: run for 10 minutes
   - 2 faucets: run both for 5 minutes
   - 3 faucets: run each for 3-4 minutes

Flush any faucet a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.
Discard any drinks, ice, food, etc, made during the boil water notice.
Rewash any food or drink contact items (knifes, forks, plates, etc.) with "cleared" system water.
Check water filters (in faucets, refrigerators and elsewhere) and replace if necessary.
Do not use water from your hot water heater for drinking until several exchanges of the tank have occurred.
Run dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing dishes.

  More information about Boil-water notices can be found on the Mississippi State Department of Health's web page. Type boil water in the search box and click search.